When you look at the supposed crossover hatchbacks, or cross-hatches as they are called in the market today, they are differentiated from their “normal” hatchback versions with some small upgrades. Give them some rugged plastic claddings, roof rails, bigger wheels, small DRLs and brand them as a new model. Is that what the new Honda WR-V is, another crossover-wannabe hatchback? Let’s have a look.
While the overall ideology of Honda WR-V is similar to the other cross-hatches like Hyundai i20 Active, Toyota Liva Cross, Fiat Avventura and the likes, it has more going for it. Despite based on the same platform as Honda Jazz, the WR-V is longer by 44mm, wider by 40mm, taller by 57mm and has 25mm more wheelbase than the Jazz. And it shows when you look at the WR-V. It looks the part with the larger dimensions and other features to make it butch, like the raised bonnet, bigger chrome grille, new split tail lamp, roof rails, new headlamps with DRLs, new front and rear bumper with skid and bigger 16-inch wheels. All these have made the WR-V to look like an all new car and we like it.
The WR-V reveals it is based on the Jazz more so when you get inside. The layout is the same as Jazz but the increase in height has allowed getting in and out easier. The space is great inside, both at the front and rear, with seats offering amazing support. The WR-V also has more boot space with 363 litres, 9 litres more than Jazz.
Feature wise, though, the WR-V gives the Magic Seats a miss, it gets the new Digipad infotainment system that was introduced with Honda City. The infotainment system 17.7cm display touch screen with in-built support for navigation, MirrorLink for smartphone connectivity and WiFi receiver. It also gets two USB ports, HDMI-in port and two micro SD card slots for maps and media. Other features include auto AC, push button start/stop, keyless entry, cruise control, electric foldable ORVMs, tilt and telescopic adjustable steering and multi-view rear camera.
Though dual airbags and ABS come as standard for all variants, unfortunately only the diesel model gets features like cruise control, keyless entry and push button start/stop.
Engine line up remains the same with 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol and 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel engine doing duties. The power outputs also remain unchanged with the 1.2-litre petrol unit making 90 PS of power and 110 Nm of torque and the 1.5-litre diesel putting out 100 PS and 200 Nm of power and torque respectively.
The 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel unit will be the one to go for as the engine has been tuned for better acceleration with retuned gear ratios and low-end power. The WR-V diesel pulls away easily and builds speed nicely, but the engine still suffers from poor refinement. The six-speed manual gearbox helps in effortless highway cruising and the WR-V diesel offers 25.5 km/l, making it the most fuel efficient in its segment.
On the other hand, the 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol engine is silky smooth and peppy in slow speeds, making for a better city dweller. When you take it to the highways, the WR-V petrol suffers from the lack of top-end power. But other than that, if you drive the car in the city, the i-VTEC engine makes for a great companion with its eager 5-speed manual gearbox, light clutch and great response.
Another important mechanical update the WR-V got is a reworked suspension setup. The suspension, which is slightly higher than the Jazz, has been tuned to take in the additional weight of the WR-V. With larger tyres and higher ground clearance, the WR-V feels more planted when driven lightly. It takes in the small irregularities and potholes of our roads pretty well and only when you swing the WR-V hard around the corners, you feel the body roll. The steering feels light and adds weight adequately as the speeds rise, but it lacks a bit of response.
And finally, to answer the question whether Honda WR-V has enough to distance itself from the Jazz, we would say yes. From the looks, to the dimensions to the performance, the WR-V is worthy of its own tag, which is evident as WR-V is the next best seller after City for Honda.